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How Much Does Crane Rental Cost?

Last Updated on June 5, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Cranes are an essential piece of heavy lifting equipment utilized across countless construction and industrial projects when lifting, moving, or positioning heavy materials and objects.

However, acquiring cranes requires major capital investment. For most companies, crane rental provides a flexible, cost-effective solution for obtaining suitable lifting equipment only for the duration required.

But renting cranes, like any major rental equipment, still represents a significant project expense that must be thoroughly budgeted for.

This guide examines the primary variables impacting total crane rental costs per project, typical price ranges associated with different crane types and capabilities, strategies for accurately estimating and controlling rental expenses, and tips for maximizing overall value from crane rentals to optimize return on investment.

How Much Does Crane Rental Cost?

The total cost of crane rentals can range from as little as $500 per day for basic small crane rentals, up to over $15,000 per day for large heavy lift crawler or tower cranes.

On average, companies can expect to spend approximately $2,000 – $5,000 daily for medium-sized truck or rough terrain crane rentals suitable for most common construction applications. Rental periods of a month or longer typically qualify for multi-month discounted rates in the 10-20% range as well.

Crane rental rates can range widely based on the type and capacity of crane utilized, which greatly impacts its operational costs and transportation/storage considerations. Larger cranes command higher base rental fees than compact models:

Mobile Cranes

  • Small mobile cranes (under 30 tons) – $200 to $500 per day
  • Medium mobile cranes (30 – 120 tons) – $600 to $1,500 daily
  • Large mobile cranes (120 – 600 tons) – $2,500 to $7,500+ daily

Tower Cranes

  • Small tower cranes (under 10 tons) – $1,500 to $3,000+ per week
  • Large tower cranes (over 10 tons) – $5,000 to $15,000+ weekly

Hydraulic Truck or Crawler Cranes

  • 10-30 ton telescoping cranes – $800 – $1,500 daily
  • 70+ ton hydraulic cranes – $5,000 to $10,000+ daily

Lattice Boom Crawler Cranes

  • 100–200-ton crawler cranes – $5,000 – $15,000 weekly
  • 200+ ton heavy lift cranes – $15,000+ weekly

Mini Cranes

  • Light-duty mini cranes (under 5 tons) – $100 – $300 daily
  • Larger mini cranes (up to 15 tons) – $300 – $1,000 daily

Rental durations of a month or longer typically qualify renters for multi-month volume discounts of 10-20% off base rates, making long-term rentals most cost efficient. Heavy equipment transport, specialized setup, and skilled operation also add significantly to costs beyond just base rental rates.

Riggers Inc. provides detailed information on the cost of crane rental, stating that the pricing can range widely, from about $200 for smaller cranes to around $1,000 for larger options. A tower crane may cost $15,000 per month.

Hook 4 Hire reports that the hourly rental price for a mobile crane is $120, including the operator’s cost. However, the rental rate for high-capacity mobile cranes can reach up to $600 per hour. Crawler cranes can lift loads ranging from 80 to 1,000 tons, making them ideal for heavy lifting tasks. Renting a crawler crane with a 120-ton capacity typically costs around $17,000 monthly.

BigRentz mentions that small mobile cranes cost around $200 per day to rent and large operated cranes cost closer to $1,000 per day. Large tower cranes can cost around $15,000 to rent for a month.

Besides the rental price, make sure you consider additional costs that may be involved, such as delivery and assembly, permits, qualified personnel, and other fees.

Bigge provides operated and maintained crane rental rates, including hydraulic cranes with lifting capacities ranging from 23 to 25 tons. The hourly rental rates for these cranes are $265 to $380.

Introduction to Crane Rentals

Construction, industrial, marine, and various other industries rely heavily on cranes to lift, move, and position materials and objects weighing thousands of tons across project sites both large and small.

However, owning and maintaining a large crane fleet represents a major capital expenditure for companies. Cranes are extremely expensive to procure outright, with costs ranging from $100,000 for small crawler cranes, up to millions for huge all-terrain or tower cranes. Complete crane purchases only make financial sense for companies like heavy equipment rental firms or those with extensive long-term lifting needs across dedicated facilities.

For most businesses involved in one-off projects or short-term jobs, leasing cranes on a rental basis provides maximum flexibility and cost-efficiency. Renting cranes only for the duration required for a particular job avoids longer-term ownership costs like storage, maintenance, licensing, and insurance. Operational costs are also contained within the defined rental period.

You might also like our articles about the cost to rent an excavator, bulldozer, or dump truck.

Crane rentals represent a major project budget line item with significant bottom-line impact, however. Developing a comprehensive understanding of potential crane rental expenses for a given project based on its specific lifting requirements and scope allows companies to plan budgets judiciously and evaluate costs.

Having a detailed financial handle on anticipated crane rental costs helps ensure project bids and estimates contain sufficient cushions to avoid unexpected overages during execution.

Factors Influencing Crane Rental Pricing

Crane rental costs are determined based on several important factors, including:

  • Type and size of crane required– Larger cranes with greater lifting capacities have higher rental rates. Specialty cranes also cost more than standard options.
  • Duration of the rental– Hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly rental timeframes all have different base rates, with longer rentals often qualifying for volume discounts after a month.
  • Transportation to site and setup– Delivering the crane to the work site and completely assembling/disassembling it incurs costs, especially over long distances.
  • Crane operator and supervision– Fees for trained and certified crane operators to work the equipment must be factored in. Site supervision adds overhead costs as well.
  • Job site conditions and requirements– Space constraints, ground conditions, access obstacles, permitting requirements and other project site factors influence costs.
  • Additional equipment and accessories needed– Items like rigging apparatus, slings, hoists, and other attachments add to rental costs if not already included.

Carefully accounting for all the potential equipment, logistical, operational, and administrative cost drivers throughout the duration of a crane rental allows companies to develop accurate quotes. Having a detailed cost breakdown avoids unexpected surprises down the line after a project has commenced.

Some construction and industrial projects may also have defined crane specifications written into contractual agreements that dictate certain equipment parameters to meet.

Cost Components of a Crane Rental

The total project cost for a crane rental is broken down into multiple line items:

Base Crane Rental Rate – The basic rate for leasing the cranes itself for the duration required, whether hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly.

Experienced Operators – $25 to $150 per hour for skilled crane operators with required certifications to run the equipment properly and safely.

Transport to/from Site – Includes specialized trucks to haul the crane to the job site, along with fuel, mileage, and labor costs.

Setup & Dismantling – All expenses related to fully assembling and disassembling the crane by qualified personnel before and after use.

Inspections & Preventative Maintenance – Routine inspections and maintenance like fluid changes to ensure safe working order per regulations.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage – Protects against liability claims, property damage, or accidents that may occur when operating the crane.

Additional Service Fees – Surcharges like standby fees for idle periods, overtime hours, emergency technical support, and more as required.

Taking the time to factor in every potential cost component provides the most accurate estimate of total project crane rental expenses. Avoiding overlooked costs prevents budget overruns.

Getting Rental Quotes

Just like with any major rental equipment, it pays dividends for companies to solicit and compare crane rental quotes from several reputable providers when estimating costs for a given project.

Having quotes from at least 3-5 leasing companies, both regional firms and large national chains, provides a balanced view of available options and pricing factors such as:

  • Total base quote cost with all fees itemized
  • Reputation, capabilities, and reviews of the provider
  • Scope of services included versus charged as extras
  • Newer cranes versus older fleets
  • Comprehensiveness of maintenance programs to ensure uptime
  • Operator hiring policies – provided or rented
  • Response time and technical support capabilities
  • Insurance coverage terms and limits

Analyzing multiple quotes with a focus beyond just base rental rate alone allows selection of the best match for project requirements based on both cost and service factors.

Controlling Rental Expenses

Crane to RentMeticulous upfront estimating and careful ongoing cost controls are both key to maintaining crane rental budgets. Recommended best practices include:

  • Using crane rental cost calculator tools to input project parameters and generate cost estimates for budgeting
  • Establishing fixed pricing for the full rental term within the contract rather than leaving open-ended
  • Monitoring rental period efficiency and minimizing unnecessary standby downtime
  • Implementing robust equipment oversight and maintenance protocols to prevent disruptions
  • Planning rental timelines cautiously through project scheduling to prevent overruns

Clear ongoing communication and coordination between the rental company and on-site managers enables sticking to outlined rental terms and preventing payment disputes. The more variables locked down contractually, the easier the rental cost is to control.

Maximizing Overall Value

While seeking out the best possible rates is important, it is equally crucial to maximize overall value and performance from crane rentals to ensure project objectives are achieved. Useful tips include:

  • Carefully sizing/scoping the crane to required load capacities and reach for efficiency
  • Using long-term month+ rentals to gain discounted extended use rates
  • Scheduling rentals during seasonal off-peak periods when demand is lower
  • Negotiating bundled pricing on combined equipment rental packages
  • Adding specialty attachments like magnets or clamshell buckets as needed
  • Specifying experienced crane operators for safety and productivity
  • Securing optional insurance for greater coverage peace of mind

The flexibility and support provided by the proper rental equipment pays dividends that outweigh focusing purely on low costs.

Final Words

Renting cranes provides companies with an adaptable, cost-effective means of obtaining specialized lifting equipment for projects, while avoiding longer-term ownership burdens. However, leasing cranes still represents a major rental expenditure to account for in budgets and estimates.

While crane rentals entail sizable costs scaling to their capabilities, proper planning, cost estimation, and value maximization ensures these rentals deliver safe, efficient lifting to meet project goals and provide a strong return on investment within budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What must be included in a crane?

Cranes are equipped with multiple critical components including the structural framework and boom, cab and controls, power and drive mechanisms, hoist/winch and wire ropes, lifting apparatus (jib, counterweights, attachments), safety features, and outriggers/stabilizers for stability.

What are the safety precautions for cranes?

Top crane safety best practices include establishing sufficient equipment clearance zones, thoroughly inspecting cranes pre-use, designating qualified lift supervisors, strictly adhering to rated load limits, ensuring properly skilled certified operators, avoiding power line contact, and using required attachments like load stabilizers, blocks, and slings.

How to prevent crane collapse?

Preventing crane collapses requires stringent inspection/maintenance programs, upgraded technologies like anti-sway and load monitoring systems, experienced operators, weather monitoring, optimal counterweight configurations, cautious load testing, proactive safety management, and comprehensive operator training.


2 replies
  1. Claire Masters
    Claire Masters says:

    My dad is looking into remodeling an old building he owns and turning it into an accommodation rental space. He might need to hire several types of equipment like a crane and excavator. Thanks for the tip of contacting at least three companies before making a decision to hire one. As important as the cost of this expense, I do agree that it’s also important to look at the reputation of the provider.


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